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all cooking was conducted within the Barmkin and brought up to the residents when served. It must be remembered the Great Hall would come into its own in the evening when banquets were hosted, accompanied with live music from minstrels. The small alcove on the Southern wall is perfectly positioned for acoustics so would seat musicians for banquets. Considering the devout religious convictions at the time, there could have been up to 160 Saints days celebrated by the occupants each year; obviously this would be limited by wealth, connections and resources. It is fairly clear the Great Hall was seen as a sign of wealth and designed in great detail to impress everyone who entered, and purposely engineered to be seen at night. Banquets would be hosted to impress visitors and invited guests. These would often last for several hours and be conducted at great expense; their food would often be far better than that consumed by us today-there was no refined sugar, no potatoes and most of the food for the wealthy was fresh and of a very high calorie content. Banquets could last for several hours. Participants would dress in their finest clothes, often wove with gold or silver thread, often sewn with small jewels to reflect candlelight. Some records from other sources suggest some of the material they were purchasing would be the equivalent today of £4000 per sq M. When one thinks about a large table in the middle of the room it is obvious the risk of having some localised light source in the form of candelabras could have been used as a local light source, which would have reflected on their garments creating a spectacular scene. It was commonplace to coat pastries and pies with gold leaf to sparkle under candlelight. The hall is lit by 4 high window recesses, positioned to catch the rising and setting sun through the coloured glass panels set within. This feature alone illustrates how well the castle was constructed. There placement has no significance until an early morning sunrise, or late evening sunset catches rays and refracts them into the Hall. The fact that the four high windows at each corner of the Great hall formed such an important part of the design illustrates how important impressions were. They were included for one reason; just in case that coincided with the rising and setting sun’s rays. This does not happen often, but must have been in the builders plan. In the evening, when it does work is spectacular; we have experimented with candles and the effect is similar to having a laser display or the Northern Lights above the banqueting table. 14


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